Tag Archives: In the Days of the Flesh by Marilyn Jaye Lewis

Whew!! We Made it!!

Yes!! I went out first thing this morning — drove into town to go to the market as soon as it opened, so that I could get my week’s groceries without having  to shop with too many people in the store.

(Ohio is on Stay-At-Home orders, which means we can go out for essentials but that’s it.)

And when I got back home, this time I paid attention to everything I touched before I washed my hands, so that I didn’t go through some sort of paranoia attack all day about whether or not I had washed every single solitary thing that might need washing…

And I’m hoping to do only one load of laundry today — instead of worrying that I didn’t get every single thing that my clothing might have  touched when I came in the door.

In short, I hope to have a nice day.

The weather here is unbelievable!! We did not get all the rain that was predicted — which is good because Wakatamika Creek has already become a veritable lake, flowing all over the bottom land. (It doesn’t affect the town, because the creek always floods and that bottom land always eventually absorbs it. In the nearly 200 years the town has been here, I guess they figured out not to build anything at all anywhere near that creek…)

Anyway. It is gorgeous outside. Most of the windows are open, which is such a relief for me, because I am allergic to cats and I have 7, so fresh air is just like the best thing that God invented, ever.

I am on Day 15 now of my quarantine. We still have no confirmed cases of the virus in Muskingum County — and here is something that actually pisses me off: Ohio has stopped reporting how many people test negative for the virus. The last time they reported the number, several days ago, it was close to 20,000 people who didn’t have it.  They only report now how many people have it and how many people have died from it. Which just totally skews everybody’s understanding of what is going on.

And when questioned why they stopped releasing the numbers, they let it be known that the nearly 20,000 who didn’t have it, did not even include the amount of negatives coming from the private testing sector. The State itself (not the private sector) is testing 500 people a day! And 1400 people have tested positive (that includes those who have recovered and 28 who have died). So who knows how many tens of thousands of people in Ohio don’t have the virus?

It just feels so manipulative and political, doesn’t it? (If you don’t live in America, you probably can’t get a real sense of how many politicians want to blame Trump for absolutely everything imaginable, even if it means having to “misrepresent” or downplay the facts. It just gets ludicrous.)

The Health Department here in Ohio also seems to be relying on a forecasting formula that the Federal Government has stated is outdated now because the forecasts did not match what is actually happening in Italy.  It just feels so controlling — try to make everyone feel hysterical so that they no longer trust the Federal Government.

It is just so hard to know what the heck is going on anymore, so it’s still best to just stay inside and wash.

And speaking of Italy — that Instagram photo I posted last evening (lower left of this page if you’re on a computer) is of Pope Francis giving the Urbi et Orbi blessing in a deserted St. Peter’s Square last night. Isn’t that one of the most amazing sights?

And speaking of the Pope… I spent yesterday catching up on some back issues of Biblical Archaeology Review (which has nothing to do with the Pope, just the Bible). What a cool magazine. But so hard to spell!! (I’m guessing that the next Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album will have both the words “Archaeology” and “Apocalypse” in it so that I can go out of my fucking mind trying to spell it…) (See various references to my inability to spell the word “Apocalypse” as well as the 2004 double-album title Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus.)

I love Biblical archaeology. I love the stuff they discover, and how it helps us re-frame what was handed down in the Bible (for instance, before contemporary times, women had a very different way of interpreting what is written about Eve in Genesis because they relied primarily on Genesis 1 and let that inform how they interpreted Genesis 3 — meaning, in short, they believed that Eve was the spiritual equal of Adam and also that Adam was standing right next to Eve during that whole serpent thing, so, um …) (Also, the King James Version of the Bible misinterpreted the word for “pupil” to mean “apple” so the saying “apple of his eye” actually reads “pupil of his eye.” I just love stuff like that!)

And I especially love it when archaeology supports what is written in the Bible. I love all that ancient historical stuff.  Oh — and I ordered a scholarly book from Amazon yesterday that’s a couple years old already, but it re-examines Judas’s role in what happened to Jesus, along with the role of the Jewish High Priests, and it apparently redirects the blame to Herod. That the High Priests were providing shelter to Jesus from the Romans during Passover, and that Herod intercepted that.

(Folks, you really, really gotta closely examine that relationship between Herod and Jesus at every turn. Something really, really bad was going on there. We’ll probably never really know what. But it has something to do (I think) with the Romans having appointed Herod King, when that was not the way the Hebrews accepted a “King.” And all the John the Baptist stuff is connected there, too.)

This all fascinates me, personally, because I am working on a one-man play (titled In the Days of the Flesh) about the (fictional) Gospel According to Caiaphas, which exonerates him from what happened to Jesus.

And here we are today! I’m gonna go eat my lunch now and get this day underway.  (And, btw, the market was completely stocked with absolutely everything.) I hope you are having a good Sunday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting!! (Oh, and another by the way!! Dylan’s new song, “Murder Most Foul,” already has 2 million views on YouTube — and that’s not counting my endless listenings because I bought the song immediately, so I stream it.)

I’ll leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning, “Casa Dega,” which I only listened to halfway, because the windows were open and I realized that the birds were singing and I preferred listening to them!! But anyway, this is not the version I listened to, but I like this one because it captures Tom Petty live in 1978, when he still had that awesome attitude he had when he was young. (He’s 28 here.) Enjoy, gang!! I love you guys. See ya.

“Casa Dega”

Well the clouds roll by in the big blue sky
As the sun beats down on Casa Dega
And the moon pulls the tide and the tide brings night
But night is more than just night in Casa Dega

Oh

Baby I think I’m starting to believe the things that I’ve heard
‘Cause tonight in Casa Dega I hang on every word

She said to me as she holds my hand
And reads the lines of a stranger
Yeah, and she knows my name, yeah she knows my plans
In the past, in the present and for the future

Yeah, baby now I think I’m starting to believe the things that I’ve heard
‘Cause tonight in Casa Dega I hang on every word

Then she said…

Oh

And you almost pay the price of a whisper in the night in Casa Dega
Time rolls by, night is only night, can I save ya?

Yeah, yeah
Alright
It’s more than just a night
Alright
Yeah, yeah

© 1978 Tom Petty

OMG, I know!

It’s been yet another FOREVER since I’ve posted here!

Let’s see. What have I been doing?

I took a quick and lovely road trip in the new Honda Fit recently. It was a lovely day and a perfect drive. (Although I have to say, I do get really tired of always doing everything by myself!)

I bought myself a season ticket to a local summer stock theater company. It’s in the next town over; a quick drive out to a barn, basically, in the middle of trees and fields. I had the best time! (Once again, though, all by myself. One thing about living out here in the Hinterlands — I only have 1 friend and he now has 3 tots under the age of, like, 8 at home — and he’s as old as Methuselah. So I rarely ever get to see him nowadays.)

But back to the theater — The first show was Children of Eden, by Stephen Schwartz. I’m not always a Stephen Schwartz fan. While I absolutely adore Pippin (having seen the original touring version back in 1973 and then going on to memorize the Original Broadway Cast album soon thereafter), I think I am the sole person on planet Earth who does not adore Wicked, and Children of Eden has a similar musical feel to Wicked. Meaning that the singing just goes on and on and on and the melodies just seem to blend into one another. However, even though I didn’t leave the theater humming any semblance of a memorable musical tune, I did enjoy the performance and the people in the show a whole lot and I’m looking forward to the next show, Peter & the Starcatcher.

And on a similar note (i.e. theater) — the reason why I haven’t been able to post here in quite some time:

When last you heard from me, I was re-working my approach to The Tea Cozy Murder Club TV script, and was painfully researching that new approach by tirelessly streaming endless repeats of Midsomer Murders, one of my favorite TV shows of all time.  (It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.)

Meanwhile, I was also doing that never-ending research for the play I’m writing about Caiaphas, In the Days of the Flesh. (Research involving theology, ancient biblical history both Jewish and Christian, and current archeology, so the never-ending-ness of it can get overwhelming.) Anyway, I enjoy every minute of it, but before I could really settle down and put pen to paper on either project, an additional play I’m writing for Sandra Caldwell has suddenly landed smack dab on the center of my plate.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that 2 summers ago, I went to New York to work with Sandra on refashioning my TV movie script, Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story, into a one-act play for Sandra to perform/star in. Well, now that we’ve at long last, really & truly, signed off on the final draft of her one-woman musical (currently titled The Guide to Being Fabulous), she informed me that she needed a finished draft of the Tell My Bones play within 2 months, when she starts performances of Charm Off-Broadway with the MCC Theater.

It’s not like I totally forgot that Tell My Bones even existed. The TV movie script of it is with the production company in LA and I’m awaiting feedback on it. However, the one-act PLAY version of Tell My Bones … well, I did totally forget that it even existed. (Too many half-finished projects on my plate, perhaps??) So, when Sandra said she needed a final draft of Tell My Bones by the end of the summer, all I could think of to say was, “You got it!”

Then I hung up the phone and had to scrounge around, digging up 2-year-old notes for the thing, keeping in mind that I sold my house, stuffed everything imaginable into boxes that went into storage for 6 months and then got shoved willy-nilly here in the basement in the house I’m renting in the Hinterlands…

But blessings and miracles!! I found all the notes and discovered that when I sat down at my desk to tackle it, I was incredibly and effortlessly inspired! And I am so happy with how it’s progressing.

The one-act play version of Tell My Bones will be done by the end of the summer simply because it has to be. Pressure aside, it feels so exciting to be working on it right now, simply because the inspiration is so close, so tangible, so beautiful. As any writer (or any artist) knows, inspiration is not always present when deadlines are. So to have them arriving at the same time and keeping pace with each other –Wow. It just feels so great.

But, on the downside, it leaves me little leftover inspiration for blogging.  So yes, my friends; you must suffer. You must pay the price in all this heady inspirational madness going on over here in the Hinterlands!

Okay, on that note… Let’s see. I will leave you with this! Some of that “inspiration” for Tell My Bones. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a wonderful weekend whatever you wind up doing. See ya!

These Days

I still can’t complain! Life in the hinterlands continues to delight me. That said, though, I pretty much made up my mind yesterday that I’ll hang out here in this rental house as long as it remains feasible, and then finally move back to New York.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that for nearly 3 years, I was planning to move to Rhinebeck, NY, as soon as the developers decided when, exactly, they were going to tear down my old house.

That prospect was going to drag on for another 5 years, at the least, and so this past September, I sold my old house and now I’m renting a friend’s house in the amazing hinterlands of Ohio, while I focus on the TV pilots, and on a couple of books I’m writing (and, now, I’ve added writing the one-man play about Caiaphas into that mix), and try to figure out what the heck I want to do with the next half of my life.

So, yesterday, I decided.

Not only do I love Rhinebeck, but I have a couple of good friends who live there, and Manhattan is only a commuter train ride away, where most of the rest of my friends still reside.  So that’s that.

This morning, like every morning these days, I awoke about 6 am,  terribly missing my cats.  Not just the 2 who recently died, but Buster, as well, who died in September of ’13.  They were “my babies,” and now it seems like it is only a heartbeat later and all 3 of them are gone.

Even though Christmas is my favorite time of year, I’m not really celebrating this year. All my many, many boxes of Christmas stuff are in storage about 20 miles from here. I’m okay with where my life is at right now, even though it’s in a kind of limbo, still, I couldn’t help remembering all the many joyous past Christmases when my cats were still with me. For instance:

Fluffy at Christmas, about 6 years ago.
Fluffy at Christmas, about 6 years ago.

 

And I couldn’t help wondering, yet again, what life is all about.

The more I study for my ministry (which is, basically, 24/7), the more convinced I am that the “here & now” is all that exists in physical terms and that that only just barely exists. Meaning, I believe “here & now” is a construct of the physical senses that only exists for as far as our 5 senses can detect and that most of physical reality is just something we think is there, extending beyond us. The past was just a fleeting construct that somehow felt so intensely real, we can barely fight off the allure of it; and the future is a construct we imagine we will experience but never do because it’s really all just “here & now.”

I believe that immediately beyond what our 5 physical senses can detect lies the non-physical, which takes up Eternity. That we only perceive things here in the physical when we actually focus on perceiving them. Wallace Stevens described a similar idea in his famous poem “July Mountain” many years ago.

I believe we all have inner beings that have inner beings, who have inner beings, who have inner beings, who have inner beings, like a truly endless Matryoshka doll. And because of that, I feel that God truly is an unknowable, distant “Being” that is like some sort of “dream machine,” constantly, eternally, unfathomably dreaming every single solitary thing, idea, thought, person, creature, into its own “being-ness”. This is partly why my ministry is called The Edge of God Ministry — because I believe we “exist” here at the farthest edge of God, a God that never ceases creating, while we evolve into deliberate creators, learning how to dream our own thoughts into “being” until we become an inner being of someone else.

Until we all  finally learn that everything is joyful and sacred and that everything, all across the board, exists because it chooses to. Eternally. And then we leave the physical realm and focus non-physically.

Even while I can’t prove any of this, it’s still what I believe. And for me, it adds a heightened element of sanctity to all these things that mean so much to me in the physical, and that brings me joy.  And it doesn’t lessen the profundity of anything else that anyone else chooses to take joy in and bring into existence. We each define what matters to us. It’s all sacred.

And so I believe my cats choose to be here as much as I choose to have them in my life, and that only makes them all the more dear to me now that they’ve chosen to leave it.

I try to imagine how this distant “dream machine” called God could create so much love and create such an intensity of “being here” in the physical, and I remain in awe of God. And in awe of everyone and everything who chooses to come here and “Be” for awhile, multiplied by however many aeons it’s been going on.

As the sky became almost imperceptibly lighter, I knew it was time to stop missing “my babies,” get out of bed, and go to the kitchen and get a cup of coffee. Which I did. Only to bring the cup of coffee back to bed so I could continue marveling at creation.

Today, I am going to be working on my one-man play about Caiaphas, also continuing to re-learn Biblical Hebrew, while also continuing to listen to the lectures on “Jesus and His Jewish Influences,” by Jodi Magness, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania; lectures which are absolutely astounding in their depth of knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish Apocrypha and the uncanny degree to which 1st Century Jewish Christians continued to carefully craft stories of Jesus to fit prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures.

But it doesn’t make me love Jesus any less. To me, he grows more and more profound. What the heck was he really teaching back then that scared so many Jews and Romans, and that could make so many other Jews and Gnostics and Pagans cherish him so dearly that they were committed to making his name live forever?

I keep feeling as if I am on the verge of finding out…

So, there I sat as the sun came up, enjoying my coffee and the thoughts in my head, keenly missing my cats but treasuring them just the same, when Daddycakes jumped up on the bed and stared at me so lovingly. He’s not tame, he’s feral; now semi-feral as he is really starting to trust me — after 4 1/2 years. He is such a beautiful cat, and so compassionate. When Bunny died so suddenly, the morning after we moved here, Daddycakes cuddled up against her lifeless body; he was clearly in mourning, saying goodbye. These cats are so dear.

Remembering all this made me think of John Rutter’s lovely arrangement of All Things Bright and Beautiful, so I played it, over & over & over again, and eventually I got out of bed and resumed my participation in creating a really sacred day!

Christmas is almost here, gang! I hope you’re enjoying the lovely season. Thanks, as always, for visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

So many great projects, too little time!

First and foremost: There is more snow falling here in the hinterlands, even as I type!! Yay! It won’t amount to more than 2 inches, so it’s no big deal that later today, I will once again have to drive into town… While it’s falling, it is just so darn pretty. Especially now that most of the neighbors have their Christmas lights up.

I was assured by the director of production at the company that will be developing my TV pilot, Cleveland’s Burning, that we will begin the re-writes and development of the pilot right after the first of the year.

I’m expecting this project to seriously challenge my storytelling abilities and take a lot out of me. In other words, most of my life will likely come to a grinding halt, once I begin working on the revisions. So Val (in Brooklyn) and I decided to spend December getting back to our book, The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport. Since both Fluffy and Bunny, my beloved and recently departed cats, have prime roles in the book, I was having trouble writing it. I couldn’t get past the fact that both my cats had died this year, so unexpectedly. And Val’s Dad died, followed quickly by her Uncle, so things were just emotionally rough for both of us. Well, once we decided we were both ready to tackle the book again, another dear member of Val’s family suddenly passed away, so the  book has shifted to the back burner once again.

I thought, okay, I’ll make some progress on my memoirs before January rolls around. But suddenly, out of the blue, after about 14 months of researching Caiaphas, James the Brother of Jesus, and the Talpiot Tomb (in order to write my one-man play about Caiaphas in a seriously modern re-telling of his role in the death of Jesus), I sat down at my desk yesterday morning, and lo & behold, the play started coming out! Astonishing. I was so not expecting that.

My play is titled, In the Days of the Flesh. The title is taken from the Book of Hebrews, in the New Testament, and refers to the days when Jesus walked among men. It took me all day, but I got 2 killer pages done. I can’t imagine it will be finished by January, even though it will only run about 55 pages. Nevertheless, if it’s ready to come, I’m welcoming its arrival with “open laptop!!” — however many pages end up coming before the New Year.

So, on we go! And that said, I want to get back at it! Thanks for visiting, gang, and I leave you with this splendiferous Ode to Today!! See ya!